The Comment

Turmoil of the Middle East in our backyard

TORONTO – The latest pleas for action by (CIJA) the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (“This motion must be stopped” This Week in Canadian Jewish Advocacy, is yet another signal that Israel is losing the public relations war in Gaza, and that the Jewish Diaspora may be its most significant victim. With few isolated exceptions, before October 8, 2023, the Diaspora could count on Western society’s virtually unconditional support for the State of Israel as a Jewish state. The events since then have been testing that “bond”.

The pressures are surfacing in the domestic politics of far-away-lands like Canada. Those “strains” are manifesting themselves as demonstrations, whose objectives are only remotely related to immediate items of concern here. The frequency of their disruptive occurrence, the number of the attendees when they “spring up” and the acrimony they exude lay bare inter-faith, inter-cultural differences. One consequence is that there has been a gradual ‘conversion of those differences into hostile attitudes’ toward their neighbours here in Ontario and elsewhere in Canada.

Phobias” are now replacing our vaunted Multiculturalism. Good-bye Diversity, Equity and Inclusion policies. It seems we must be anti-[something] to be current. Hello, islamophobia, anti- semitism, anti-catholicism, and, as we saw on the on the eve of Italy’s Giorgia Meloni’s visit, Italophobia – fed by none other than Canada’s broadcaster of record, the CBC.

In the opinion of the Corriere Canadese, the “air war” between CIJA and its Palestinian counterpart (CJPME) Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East,, is a regrettable display of deterioration of the social peace that had become a characteristic of our national identity.  Quite apart from our view of what should or should not happen in the Middle East, this “war” between two elements of our contemporary society is disruptive and unhelpful to anyone, unless you are apart of a political party in Canada that may have morphed into a vehicle of protest for one or the other exclusively.

Sunday, we received a memo from both CIJA and CJPME advising us that, on Monday, March 18, when the House of Commons resumes its sitting, the Federal NPD will present a Motion for debate and approval that, if approved, would result in Canada’s “immediate and unilateral recognition of a Palestinian State”. The Corriere will discuss the contents in separate pieces. For now, it is sufficient to add that the proposed legislation should prompt concern, for two reasons.

First, it is a cynical, divisive, opportunistic political ploy alluding to desired outcomes that are purely punitive. Second, the NDP Leader is allied to the Head of Government, Prime Minister J. Trudeau. The respective House Leaders had to have negotiated to fit this NDP Motion on the House Agenda for next week.

Here is the only redeeming feature: as an “Opposition Motion”, the proposal has virtually zero chance of passage. Even it does receive approval after second reading, it must pass the hurdles of Committee debates, third Reading in the House, referral to and approval by the Senate processes before it can become eligible for Proclamation into Law. Even then, the Government is under no obligation to enact it.

It seems an ill-conceived short-sighted political gamesmanship. And to what purpose?

The two banners from CJPME and CIJA websites

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